Vending Machine Mafia Cobb County Georgia

Posted on: Tue, 01/13/2004 - 6:50pm
momof william's picture
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Joined: 06/04/2003 - 09:00

Ok ..I must vent or blow!
My last post was much more pleasant.But it took six years in the same school to make it that way. This year a step into middle school. Same county, new fight!
First let me back up, on two seperate occasions I have pushed for a 504, I followed thru on my part, school always didn't. I worked hard to keep him safe.
Principal from elementary school said he was going to help me transition into middle school. Never happened.Went into school before school started (THANK GOD) and told them of the issue and my son's needs. Showed up for orientation with a typed list of needs and handed it out to all parties involved.Teachers, administrators, lunch room manager.
Right off the bat a teacher got a chip on her shoulder . What amazes me is how educated people can be so ignorant.An epipen was taken from my son's hip sack that was attached to his lunch bag . I emailed her and two other teachers and NEVER got a reply. The pen has not been found.
Lunch room manager was a breeze. She has an epipen toting child that has an allergy to dyes in food. She got all peanut products with the exception of the PBJ's for kids with no lunch money. It took William reacting to PB cookies being cooked and him reacting, but she came around.
In the last 9 weeks ,my son has been checked out at least 15 times due to peanut exposure that causes a rash. (Thanks God he is older and removes himself from situation faster)
The reason he is reacting is because the vending machines. I had mentioned this to the lunchroom lady and she told me that was the principals baby.
The week before Christmas break my son was removed from the school 3 times. My husband took my son into his office and he looked shocked and played stupid, like it was the first he had heard of it. That was Thursday. Friday my son was exposed again, husband went and got him and I called principal from work. I told him I was ill, that this was beyond annoying .That his machines full of Snickers and Reese's were to blame. I also told him I did not sit well ,knowing he had not taken notice to my notice. He tried to pass the buck and yadayadayada. After the break he assured me , once his inventory had been used up .No more peanut products in the machines.
My son made it thru 6 days back into the school year and he called again. A child had purchased a Snickers and was breaking it into pieces handing it out to his friends. Again the rash kicked in, and again , husband had to pick him up.I called to talk to principal , got the sixth grade advisor.With him everytime it is brought up he gets real defensive.This time he spoke of a 504 , I told him I had tried that route and would have the paper work in hand the next day. I told him I would be at the school next morning.
I went and met with the Principal. I told him I thought that the peanuts were going to be gone by now. He said, "what?" With a sly grin. < I am feeling this man enjoys and is well spoken at lying , but would probably be the first to call you one> I told him the vending machines were a serious issue. He told me that the vending machines pay for teacher incentives, inservice, furthering teachers educations and it was not doable. I have sat on PTA board , I was shocked. I have not been able to count the vending machines through out the school but there are at least 3 snack machines and 10 coke-fruitopia machines, that I know of. I told him then arrangements would need to be made to protect my child by placing him in a school that can accomadate his needs. With that chip , he said, "Well I guess so!" First off , the school is a poor performing school, with children from all walks of life. There are some real heartbreaking stories to hear. After sitting the PTA board 4 years in a feeder school, I know.
I told the principal I would hate to remove my son , because this is where his friends are , he has spent six or more years of his life with them. He plays in the band, does well in school, with the exception of a teacher or two that do not give him his makeup work after he misses time in their class, he made all A's and B's ...with only two c's and both of them were only a point away from being a B.The exposure/reactions have kept him from honors. He is a good kid. Keeps his nose clean, and deserves better.
I pulled out two packets I had made the night before, thanks PeanutAllergy.com!, one the legal steps it takes for the school to start a 504 from scratch and the other a packet of my resposibilites. I left them with him with the word's CIVIL LIBERTIES glowing at the top! After that he called the vender and told him they needed to meet today to discuss what can be done about the peanut products. He also mentioned to the vender that he knows Snickers are his #1 seller,< eye roll from him<, but that it is a LAW!
After I left the principal's office. I went to the clinic to meet the nurse, this is the 3rd nurse we have had this year. This will also be the third time I will have to turn in injection form and OTC form for the Benadryl Spray. I just like going back and forth getting forms signed for my health.
Ok, now it is 4 am and I am feeling burdened, I worry that the vending machine mafia is going to attack.My son keeps a great attitude during all this , but me putting the happy face on around him wears on my soul.
I did not tell son of principals reaction of wanting to remove him from the school, I wonder what today will hold, whatever it may be , I pray for good. Anyone else having issues in Cobb County , Georgia, good or bad please contact me

Posted on: Tue, 01/13/2004 - 9:36pm
StaceyK's picture
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Joined: 05/06/2003 - 09:00

Even before we knew we had a PA issue in our house, I hated the vending machine thing in schools. It is terribly unhealthy and sends the wrong message. The more I read, the less I want to send my children off to these institutions. I will be in a constant state of ickiness and, possibly, rage - not good for the family. Good for you though - you haven't backed down.

Posted on: Wed, 01/14/2004 - 12:48am
momof william's picture
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Joined: 06/04/2003 - 09:00

Ok ..this morning I spoke with the nurse over my son's school. Not good. She will help me with any nursing issues and in wroting the 504, which is wonderful, but she says I may be asking to much asking the principal to remove peanut products from machines. I also asked her what happened to the idea of placing peanut allergic children into the same school (elementary, middle , and high), she said, " We feel that the child needs to be placed in the school in his community." I pray she doesn't call the principal and hinder the removal of the products. All I can say , if it doesn't happen , I will be in touch with the media and a civil rights attorney.

Posted on: Wed, 01/14/2004 - 3:17am
California Mom's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

momofwilliam, I am so sorry to hear what your son is going through. First of all: {{{hugs}}} to you. You are absolutely doing the right thing by getting your son a 504 plan. His education is clearly being impacted by the presence of those peanut containing candies in the vending machines. It breaks my heart to know that he has to keep missing school and get sent home; of course this must be affecting his grades, not to mention his sense of well being!
Your principal sounds like a #1 a**hole. You are an amazing and strong woman to be able to stand up to him repeatedly. You are a great mom!!!
You must be so upset that the nurse is possibly going to make things even worse for you. She should be on your side! It isn't in any of the childrens' health interests to be selling that kind of junk at school. She should be behind you all the way. Ugh!!!
I would be wary of contacting the media; I think it could really back fire. One of our members, here, NutterNoMore, had a horrible experience once the media got wind of the changes he and his wife were asking from his son's school. This was a kindergartener, [b]and[/b] it was in the liberal bastion of the San Francisco Bay Area. Somehow my gut tells me that the backlash against your son could be very negative. Especially in the South.
I think a civil rights attorney is a great idea, if you can find one who will really "get it".
Good luck; please keep us posted on your son's situation!!!
Miriam

Posted on: Wed, 01/14/2004 - 3:53am
momof william's picture
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Joined: 06/04/2003 - 09:00

Thanks for your advice ,it we be taken. I have never wanted any of this to become a freak show. I know the school struggles and has found a way around parental monetary involvement to fund themselves. We do have fundraisers. I am going to study the differences between elementary and secondary education structure to get educated because knowledge is power, and the thing I want most is safety for all children.

Posted on: Wed, 01/14/2004 - 11:19pm
momma2boys's picture
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Joined: 03/14/2003 - 09:00

momofwilliam, wow, I cant believe what an @**hole your principal is. I find that whole situation unacceptable to have your son reacting that often. Maybe its time to contact the superintendant. You def. need to get a 504 in place and make sure they comply.
Our school does fundraising also, but its for trips and incentives for the students. They are talking about incentives for the teachers. I think you may actually have more success addressing parents of the students as a whole and facing this as a "get the junk food out of the school" issue.
Good luck, I hope they get their act together.

Posted on: Thu, 01/15/2004 - 12:14pm
krasota's picture
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Joined: 04/24/2000 - 09:00

Is the school board elected in your locality? If so, take the fight to them. They worry about being re-elected and might take a civil rights issue to heart.
Another thought would be contacting the superintendent and issuing concerns over the principal's willingness to abide by a 504 plan.
ygg

Posted on: Thu, 01/22/2004 - 10:20pm
momof william's picture
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Joined: 06/04/2003 - 09:00

Ok, last week he had to be checked out twice. So much for the peanut free table with vending machines in the lunchroom. Why is it people won't take an issue like this seriously? They act like you are asking sooo much of them to not eat a peanut. I wonder how they would react if it was something like this that occured in their life,they have no idea how much stress they cause.
The Nurse over the county is involved again. This time we are sitting down to discuss MY responsibilies for the 504. This will be the third time this has happened..maybe third time is the charm. That means more copays/ large deductable on a child that insurance companies don't want to pay anything on because of pre existing condition.They are doing a fine job of making me crazy!!!
Why is it that they can't just give him the peanut free table and the peanut products out of the machines?? It's not like I am asking them to do much? Why does it always have to be a fight?
Ok the whole 504 thing has me scared. If the teachers and administartion are already against the peanut free thing, are they going to try and place my child in a special education class? He is a great student, smart! I don't want these people to attack my son's self esteem.He doesn't ride a bus,he doesn't stay after school for intermurals-science club, what else are they going to strip him off?
Let me share a story, a few months back I went to a friends sis in laws ,to see her new neice. Sis in law started cooking pb stuff while we were in basement playing with children. My son noticed the smell , and I told friend we needed to leave. Sis in law got very offended.
Friend called me the other day. Her sis in law had given her 13 month old daughter peanuts and her eyes swelled shut! God Bless that small child, I hope her Mom gets herself an education now!I will send peanutallergy.com to her!

Posted on: Thu, 01/22/2004 - 11:29pm
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by momof william:
[b]
The Nurse over the county is involved again. This time we are sitting down to discuss MY responsibilies for the 504. This will be the third time this has happened..maybe third time is the charm. That means more copays/ large deductable on a child that insurance companies don't want to pay anything on because of pre existing condition.They are doing a fine job of making me crazy!!![/b]
Is the School asking for appropriate documentation from a physician? Physicain submitted recommendations? Diagnostic testing?
BTW, is the School nurse in the building all day every day each school day? If not, If so, is there anyone who is an appropriate "delagee" when the nurse isn't there? Is this an RN who is a Certified School Nurse?
Disclaimer: I am not offering advice in any manner or form.

Posted on: Fri, 01/23/2004 - 12:26am
k's picture
k
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Joined: 09/22/2001 - 09:00

Dear Momofwilliam~
I had the same problem (rashes) occuring all the time until the skin of my child's hands was just too bad to ignore. It turned out it was most likely peanut residue on the carpeting. I began to have the school document everytime this occured (including the time, the location and what was done about it, with signature included). I also had them call me, right away, everytime this happened. They sent this documentation home with my child in his backpack. I continue, to this day, to have everything documented. I had a good stack of documentation to show the school and say take a look at this stack! It shows the similarities of occurences, it shows the location, time and it shows how often this is happening. This has been a very productive tool in advocating for my child.
A school may be able to ignore a "million conversations" over your child's rash concerns but they will have a very difficult time ignoring a stack of papers, documenting their lack of attention and care for a life threatening situation with a student, with their own signatures on it! It provides a powerful bit of evidence. It also gives you some tangible evidence to present to a hearing officer if you are forced to go to a due process hearing to get the protection your child needs.
It has worked and is still working for us. We have gotten results and have gotten the attention needed to continue a good risk reduction plan.
Kinda in a hurry so hope this makes sense. Hope it is helpful too. Will check back to see if you have anymore questions for me concerning this. Will try and help anyway I can!
Best of Luck....don't give up the fight!
K

Posted on: Fri, 01/23/2004 - 1:22am
cathlina's picture
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Joined: 06/29/2001 - 09:00

Are these machines in the lunch room?
In Iowa, we have a law that vending machines can not be on during the school day because it competes with the federal govt.'s nutritional lunch program guidelines.

Posted on: Fri, 01/23/2004 - 6:40am
momof william's picture
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Joined: 06/04/2003 - 09:00

I just want to thank you all, the kind and wise words are so nice .
My son has been home the last 2 days due to sinuses(maybe from lots of exposure?). I took him to pediatrician. We spoke of what was occuring in the school. He copied me some records without even asking, to help on Monday. You gotta LOVE ANGELS! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Thanks Again....

Posted on: Fri, 01/23/2004 - 6:43am
momof william's picture
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Joined: 06/04/2003 - 09:00

The machines are in a hall outside of the lunchroom..and in other halls through out the school. I will bring that point up.
Thanks [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sun, 01/25/2004 - 8:28pm
momof william's picture
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Joined: 06/04/2003 - 09:00

I am trying to find the thread that mentions the rash that covers the buttocks. I have read it here before, but did not save it. If anyone knows of that thread please let me know .
Thanks.

Posted on: Mon, 01/26/2004 - 5:18am
momof william's picture
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Joined: 06/04/2003 - 09:00

THANK GOD!!!!! I sat in for 504 today, what a blessing. I have lost so much sleep lately. The school had the Nurse Consultant, the LPI?(writer of 504)?, the Director of Special Ed, and the head of counseling sit in. I was very sincere and factual. I tried hard not to intimidate, appreciate, not hate.
I showed them a photo of my son's rash he gets on his behind from multiple exposures.I gave them a form explaining ana/shock, I stated facts about the number of folks that are food allergic, especially nut.I told them I wanted this not just for my son , but for any person that they should come across with an issue to nuts. I stated the days he was taken from school and the valuable class time that was being missed. Also, I spoke of the hardship it put on my son and our family.
My requests. Peanut free table, buddy to walk with son to clinic when he feels he has been exposed, all faculty and staff to be trained in shock and epi pen administration, two safety kits to be provided by me to place on son and in clinic,peanut free classrooms,all teachers and staff told to be gentle on my son's self esteem and not finger him out as the "bad" guy ,due to no peanuts.I left the list in the car ,so I will have to get back with other requests.
As I was being walked out by the LTI?, I saw principal and stopped to show him the photo, he looked at me and I believe was shocked . Then he told me to go look in all the vending machines, that they were PEANUT FREE as I had asked. PRAISE GOD! I reached to shake the mans hand , and instead got him in a huge neck hug! GOD BLESS HIM! I told him Thank you so much. You talk about a burden being lifted from you! AMEN!
I believe only one person in the room felt I had asked to much by requesting that the peanuts be removed from the vending machines, I even went as far to request the inventory and purchase records of the vending machines , to determine how it might undermine the schools way it has found to fund inservice,incentives, etc. I even brought up the peanut labeling and childhood obesity issues, and the whole time I was in there, the man I wanted to choke last week had already turned into my son's hero! I don't know what I could say or do to express the joy he made me feel, to know your child is so much more safe!!!!!!!
I have a few things I need to provide for the 504. We will meet again Thursday, possibly for the finalization of it.
Thank you all for all of your support!!! I couldn't have felt so strong without you!
Best Wishes

Posted on: Mon, 01/26/2004 - 5:33am
momma2boys's picture
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Joined: 03/14/2003 - 09:00

Congratulations! How great for your son. I'm glad your principal finally came to his senses. Hopefully the rashes will end now.
BTW, how did your son feel about you showing them all a picture of his butt? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]

Posted on: Mon, 01/26/2004 - 5:36am
momof william's picture
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Joined: 06/04/2003 - 09:00

Ummmm, he doesn't know, but he is 11 and at the mooning stage. I will wait till he is High School to share that info!!!!

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